A diplomatic stalemate leaves the future of Moroccan-German relations uncertain as both await a more concrete, global decision surrounding Western Sahara.
Rabat – Morocco suspended all diplomatic contact with Germany on March 2 due to a long list of grievances that have yet to be answered.
Both sides have yet to comment on the explicit issues that hinder the relationship. However, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita has vocalized broad concerns on the German opposition towards the US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Germany failed to invite Morocco to the Berlin International Conference on Libya which further tarnished relations. Morocco is among a few countries in Africa assisting the search for normalcy and peace in Libya so the lack of invitation is noteworthy.
After a month of minimal diplomatic communication, many question the future of relations between Morocco and Germany. Moroccan residents of Germany face new challenges from the German Parliament (Bundestag) in the form of Schengen visa restrictions and other complications at the local level.
For those wishing to enter Germany, the situation is more complex than ever. In 2019, over 5,000 Moroccan students traveled to Germany for higher education. With the current state of relations, thousands of Moroccans may lose academic and professional opportunities.
Germany’s Embassy in Rabat stopped issuing Schengen visas on March 5 and has yet to resume. Officials claim the visa situation is solely based on the current status of COVID-19 in Morocco.
World leaders are weighing the ramifications of a lack of mutual understanding between the two nations. Settling issues such as the Western Sahara conflict and supporting the resolution of the Libyan crisis remain central diplomatic priorities of Morocco.
Historically, Morocco and Germany have shared strong financial and strategic interests. In December 2020, Germany provided €1.387 billion (MAD 14 billion) to Morocco, aiding the Moroccan economy during the pandemic.
The Moroccan Navy recently participated in Joint Exercise Obangame Express alongside Germany and 30 other countries.
Observers expect that Berlin will make efforts to rectify the situation in Rabat as the world increasingly adopts a pro-Moroccan stance on Western Sahara.